Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to Francis Hopkinson, 4 June 1779

To Francis Hopkinson

LS:5 American Philosophical Society; copy: Library of Congress

Passy June 4. 1779.

Dear Friend,

I received your kind Letter of the 22d Octr. last, which gave me great Pleasure as it inform’d me of your Welfare, and of your Appointment to the honourable Office of Treasurer of Loans.6 I think the Congress judg’d rightly in their Choice. An Exactness in Accounts, and scrupulous Fidelity in Matters of Trust, are Qualities for which your Father was eminent,7 and which I was persuaded were inherited by his Son when I took the Liberty of naming you one of the Executors of my Will, a Liberty which I hope you will excuse.8

I am sorry for the Losses you have suffer’d by the Goths and Vandals, but hope it will be made up to you by the good Providence of God, and the Good Will of your Country to whom your Pen has occasionally been of Service. I am glad the Enemy have left something of my Gimcrackery that is capable of affording you Pleasure. You are therefore very welcome to the Use of my Electrical and Pneumatic Machines as long as you think proper. I inclose you a little Piece or two of Oxford Wit, which I lately recd hoping they may afford you a few Minutes Amusement.9 Present my Respects to your good Mother and Sisters,1 and believe me ever, My Dear Friend, Yours most affectionately

B Franklin

P.S. Permit me to recommend the new Minister, M. le Chevalier De la Luzerne to your Civilities as a Gentleman of most amiable Character here, and a hearty Friend of the American Cause. If you can in any Respect be serviceable to him, you will much oblige me. }

Fras. Hopkinson Esqr—

Notation: Franklin. Donnée par Mademoiselle Elisabeth hopkinson. à Philadelphie.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The MS is torn, and we have supplied the few missing words from the copy.

6Hopkinson was elected to the post on July 27, 1778: JCC, XI, 724. For his Oct. 22 letter see XXVII, 605–7.

7For Thomas Hopkinson see I, 209n.

8Hopkinson accepted the appointment in his Sept. 5. reply (APS). The will that actually named him to the post is dated July 17, 1788 (Smyth, Writings, X, 493–510). BF’s earlier wills, dated [June 22, 1750], and April 28, 1757, are above: III, 480–2; VII, 199–205.

9The enclosure has not survived, but Hopkinson had it published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser (as he wrote BF on Sept. 5). Characterized as a “piece of Oxford wit,” the poem reads

Upon the tressel pig was laid

A dreadful squeaking, sure, he made:

Killpig stood by with knife and steel—

“Cans’t not lie quiet? Why dost squeal?

Have I not fed thee with my pease?

And now, for such trifles such as these,

Dost thou rebel?— So full of victual—

Can’st not be cut and slash’d a little.”

To whom thus piggy in reply—

“How canst thou think I’ll quiet lie?

Or that for pease my life I’ll barter”—

“Then piggy you must show your charter,

Prove you’re exempted more than others,

Or go to pot like all your brothers.”

(Pig struggles)

“Help neighbours, help—this pig’s so strong,

I fear I cannot hold him long—

Oh help, I say! See, by my blunder,

He’s gone and broke his bands assunder.”

Exeunt omnes.

Pig running, Killpig after him, neighbours following,

God knows whither!

1XII, 124–5n.

Index Entries